"Strip- Mall Revival" Fueling Commercial Real Estate Investment Returns

Edmonton isn’t just soaring in trendiness but what the Wall Street Journal describes as a “strip-mall revival” is pitting retailers against each other in a UFC style tournament, fueling commercial real estate returns for Canadian investors.

Edmonton, Alberta has already been soaring in popularity over the last year with office vacancy rates shrinking, new head offices moving in, a surge in population and now even the likes of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez seen frequenting Edmonton’s diners. Now developers are busy dusting off projects all over North America due to a surge in expansion plans by large chains like Target and Walmart, though few are to benefit and see as much activity from these developments as Alberta, Canada and Edmonton in particular.

No Holds Barred in the Edmonton Retailer Rumble

An epic championship cage match is unfolding in Edmonton with Walmart and Target squaring off in a battle over consumer dollars and workers. Walmart, Canada is pulling no punches as it kicks off what is being heralded as its “biggest month of openings in history”. The Edmonton Journal reports “All of Walmart’s Zellers conversions are expected to open by the end of its fiscal year on Jan. 31, including Edmonton’s Abbottsfield and Westmount” and “By the end of the month, the company will complete 30 real estate projects across Canada, including three new stores in Edmonton”.

In order to man its stores the giant retailer is said to be opening 47 hiring centres to recruit 4,000 new employees between now and 2013.

Target is swinging back too with 220 Zellers stores being renovated at $10 million or more a pop. Plus it plans to open and staff 6 stores in the Edmonton area in the spring, which is part of its plans to hire 3,000 new Alberta workers. All this additional hiring and hundreds of millions in remodels means lots more cash in the street in Alberta and Edmonton, just in time for the holiday rush.

Commercial Real Estate Investors Reveling in Even Better Returns

Commercial real estate investors in Canada probably didn’t expect such a big push when their returns are already extremely healthy but this retail war is helping to fatten their bank accounts even further. The Walmart, Target war and rise of new shopping plaza projects isn’t just great for local shoppers but investors too. There are of course both pros & cons to having a Walmart or Target in your strip mall but the point is retail properties are surging in demand, value and in the returns they are delivering to investors.